Magazine article Artforum International

Richard Ballard: Rosenberg + Kaufman Fine Art. (New York)

Magazine article Artforum International

Richard Ballard: Rosenberg + Kaufman Fine Art. (New York)

Article excerpt

The oeuvre of Richard Ballard, a Parisbased British artist who's spent considerable time in New York, can be read as a progression from lyric figurative expressionism to a pared-down, even brooding exploration of mostly natural forms. The tenor of his later paintings is hermetic, reflective of a meditative bent that comes to inhabit Ballard's aesthetic in as passionate a manner as natural forms inhabit his early work. The thirty-seven watercolors in this retrospective of his paintings from the past two decades fall into six series. The earliest are airy and Matissian. Odalisque in a Dream, 1981, features a cheery scumble of what look like brightly patterned fabrics. The young Ballard delights in texture and pigment, the breezy cohabitation of translucent colors and awkward shapes; white space plays as much of a role as color in these images. A more pointed concern with form marks the paintings in his spare, spacious "Forest" series, in which his palette is simplified to brown, taupe, and leaf yellow and negat ive space is shaped to suggest background elements. In the 1985 seascape At Sky, Two Birds, painterly blotches combine to suggest the vagarious richness of a natural setting. The birds are evident only in the title, perhaps as a metaphor for our gaze as it skims the work's surface.

Ballard's engagement with form intensifies in the '90s, in a series of paintings of hay bales, meditations on light's play across a simple form that recalls the haystacks Monet immortalized, though Ballard's project is sparer, more purely muscular and calligraphic than painterly. Ballard's brushwork in the "Red Bales" works, 1995, is especially athletic--impressive given the notoriously delicate and unforgiving nature of watercolor. Elsewhere, in Black Bales #6, 1995, a pair of looming cylindrical forms inhabit a dark, almost acetylene atmosphere, the gradations of the hues recalling the effect of moonlight on an exotic insect's wings. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.